Painting Dempsey

I spent a bit of time at the easel last night and painted a quick study of our little rescued kitten, Dempsey. He sat in the morning light streaming through the open kitchen door yesterday morning, watching the shadows of leaves moving across the floor, and I knew immediately it would make a cute painting if only I could get a good picture. Fortunately, he finally stopped attacking the shadows and sat for a moment, perhaps contemplating why he wasn’t having any luck catching them. I took a quick snap and painted this in about an hour last night. It’s only about four inches by six inches, but I’m finding I enjoy painting itty bitty works of art. They go fast and don’t require much in the way of paint. I also managed to use only four colors – burnt sienna, burnt umber, yellow ocher, and lamp black – plus a bit of zinc white and only two brushes.

Dempsey Watching Shadows

I’m not quite happy with his face yet and some of the stripes on his tail are too thick and blocky so I’ll probably play around with it again tonight, plus the leaves need more definition and his shadow is a different hue than that of the leaves. So work remains to be done before I’m satisfied, but it’s getting there.

I’ve also realized that one of my issues with painting is getting a good picture of the results. This little portrait is still wet so It’s very reflective and getting a picture that truly does justice to the colors and texture is hard. That white spec center left? It’s a thick brush stroke and the light is catching the ridge of it. No, it’s doesn’t show up white on the actual painting, but it bugs me in this picture.

Which brings me to another research project – studying how to properly photograph my work. I’m going to have to get better at it if I’m going to enter any shows or apply for more juried art residencies – all big goals of mine. But that’s also one of the many things I love about this hobby – it offers endless possibilities for discovery if only I’m willing to apply myself. Which I am.

Now, excuse me, please. I have to go work on my kitten.

– Robin

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